What is off-page SEO and why does it matter? In this article, we cover all important off-page factors and tactics you can use to boost your rankings.
The difference between on-page and off-page SEO
We've already written about on-page SEO and the factors you can optimize directly on your website. On-page SEO focuses on optimizing elements you control, while off-page SEO includes activities taken outside of your website. On-page and off-page optimization complement each other, and they are basically two sides of the same SEO coin.
What is off-page SEO
When we talk about off-page SEO, most of you will probably think of link building, which is the process of acquiring links to your website. While link building is an integral part of off-page SEO, you shouldn't overlook the other activities that happen outside your site and directly or indirectly impact your rankings in search engines.
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Why off-page SEO is important
You can think of off-page as a tool for distributing content that sets you apart from your competitors. Let's say you want to increase the visibility of your specific landing pages or content. You have already used the keywords correctly on the site. Thus, you have optimized all the important on-page factors. But dozens of your competitors can also do this correctly. So, then, how do you differentiate yourself to improve your site's rankings?
You can impact your rankings through actions taken outside of your website too. These can be acquired backlinks, brand mentions, citations, or social media signals. Let's take a little bit closer look at these activities.
Off-page SEO techniques
There are tons of SEO activities that you can work on outside of your website. There are so many articles and examples covering these topics already.
Sometimes you could say that any digital marketing activity indirectly and positively affects your SEO campaigns. For this reason, we only picked the most important off-page SEO factors that impact your rankings to know from where to start.
1. Brand building
Brand building or building your brand. Why is it important? Brand building activities should be a key part of your off-page SEO efforts to establish your online authority for search engines and users. Search engines can recognize reputable websites and then they quickly notice when many people are talking about your brand online.
For example, brand building can also include PR activities. Digital PR is key to raising brand awareness as it helps to push your brand in front of potential customers. It can even be a simple comment on recent news relevant to your niche.
When an influential media outlet such as New York Times mentions your brand, they probably won't link to your website. However, they will more likely mention your brand name when sharing your quote. And even this online mention can help your website's authority.
TIP: Big media outlets won't often provide a link to your website, but smaller ones can. Some sites will mention your brand and simply won't think to add the link. In this case, you can at least try contacting them to link to your website so readers can visit it for more information. Check your brand mentions regularly, then contact the article's author to ask for a link to your valuable resources, so people know where to find you. You can also set up mention monitoring in Marketing Miner to be notified whenever someone mentions your brand online.
Over time, you can see how well you're doing at establishing your brand, thanks to searches of your brand. If your online visibility tends to grow, this is a clear signal to Google that you have an authoritative website, which will also positively impact your rankings.
TIP: Find out how your brand is doing online with Google Trends.
2. Social media
While social media activity doesn't directly affect search result rankings, many SEO specialists can see a correlation between rankings and social media activity. Social profiles can help rank highly for brand searches as your brand mentions will appear in search results naturally when people keep mentioning your brand online.
3. Content marketing
You can work on your content marketing strategy also outside of your website. You don't have to stick only to your blog. Content marketing also helps you acquire new links and brand mentions, and it is perfectly connected with social media and link-building activities.
4. Link building
Link building is considered an integral part of an off-page SEO strategy by many marketers, which is why we created an in-depth guide to link building to improve the reach of your website.
TIP: Read our complete link building guide, with strategies you can use to improve your search visibility.
Google previously confirmed that links are one of the ranking factors as they help them evaluate a website's reputation. Back then, they probably didn't even intend to create utterly new job opportunities for link builders and digital PRs.
The original idea was to imply to users that links should be created naturally. And that's how you should do it. Therefore, when working on your link building strategy, you should never forget that received backlinks should be as natural as possible and flow smoothly with the text.
Link building strategies
If you don't plan to acquire new website backlinks by creating spammy and poor-quality content or by writing new PR articles obsessively, here's what link building strategies actually work.
Outreach (digital PR)
Have you created great content that you are proud of? Try link building outreach strategy that is based on reaching out to people that previously covered similar topics and would more likely link to your content too.
Find relevant websites, reach out to the author and ask them to link to your valuable content. However, you have to write your kick-ass outreach email first to ensure your recipients open it to get any replies. You must assure them that your content primarily helps their readers, not you.
TIP: At the end of this article, you'll find helpful information about Marketing Miner tools you can use for your link building efforts.
Showcase your expertise in your niche by conducting guest blogging outreach. Find relevant websites to your industry and offer them your expertise being shared with their audience to help build thought leadership in your industry. Then you can link to useful resources from your website directly in your guest post.
Contributing content to other websites
If you are an expert on a given topic, you can also regularly contribute content to other websites, for example, weekly or monthly. You will build your business credibility by having the author's bio, including a link to your site. Before regularly publishing your high-quality content on other websites, ensure they are the authoritative source. Quality posts take a lot of time to produce, but the results will be worth it all!
Join the interview podcasts where you can talk about your expertise and your business. Podcasting is also an excellent opportunity for relationship building and creating collaborative content. There are already a million podcasts about different topics and they are no longer devoted to just business and marketing topics. Podcasts can also be distributed on social media and websites with written transcripts that link to your website.
Building relationships with journalists
Have you been approached by a journalist writing for local newspapers? Provide a comment for their article to be seen. You can also actively build long-term relationships with journalists and editors on social media. Be a good listener. Many journalists use social media to share their work and request expert comments on specific topics for their articles. Be sure to respond meaningfully and regularly engage with their posts to not let the connection die. You can also actively monitor #journorequest on Twitter to react quickly to any media request relevant to your niche.
Host a contest on your website for a specific group of people, such as bloggers, schools, hairdressers, or mechanics. Competitions are a great way to generate brand awareness if they are interesting enough to your audience. Many competition websites and bloggers will link to your contest naturally if it's appealing enough. Your audience will potentially mention your competition on their website or social media profiles, along with a link to your website.
Reviews and testimonials
You can also build links using reviews and testimonials. They can be long or short. Wherever you feel like it and wherever there is a chance to get a link to your website too. For example, if you want to get a link from Marketing Miner, write a testimonial, and you might be able to get a link from our homepage.
Of course, there are many other ways how to acquire backlinks. You can be a lecturer or organize workshops. You can also comment on articles to be seen. Or you can create infographics or e-books. There are plenty of link building possibilities. You just need to be a bit more creative.
Off-page SEO factors
You might sometimes hear the term "off-page SEO factors". We think it can be a pretty unclear term, but when we hear this term from someone, it usually refers to link building factors. And those factors are very often interesting for SEO specialists and link builders when building new relationships. These factors are mainly:
Number of domains that link to your website
This number is very relative. For some industries will be enough to gain 20 referring domains, but even hundreds won't be enough for others. That's why it's a good idea to create some sort of benchmark and look at the industry's top players or your closest competitors.
Number of links that lead to your website
For some domains, there may be only one link to your website. For others, there may be dozens of links. However, as usual, quality outweighs quantity, so a large number of links from a small number of domains means that you'd better check if there aren't any dodgy sites linking to you.
Dofollow and nofollow links
Dofollow links pass link juice, and nofollow links do not. Nofollow links are very common on discussion forums or in comments. However, both these links are clickable, and even if a nofollow link doesn't pass any link juice, it might still be suitable for your website (just like brand mentions without links have their own importance).
A natural ratio of dofollow to nofollow links, let's say 80:20, is important for a healthy link portfolio. However, if nofollow links are predominant in your case, it's a good idea to work on dofollow links much more, so you can increase the proportion of those that carry link juice.
The domain from which the link comes
When you are looking for new domains and deciding which one of them would be interesting for you to get a link from, we recommend looking at the following “soft” factors:
- Popular domain. This is a website that, for example, is talked about a lot on social media or has many comments for articles.
- Up-to-date domain. It means there is some new and fresh content, and the latest article isn't from, let's say, the year 2016.
- An authoritative domain. In every industry, there is a website that is authoritative and recognized by many people. Authoritative sources can also be, for example, educational or government websites.
- Relevant domain. You want to get links from sites relevant to your industry and not entirely outside of what you do.
Off-page SEO and Marketing Miner
TIP: Read this link building guide for more link building moves to make with Marketing Miner.
Here are some Marketing Miner features that you can use when working on off-page tactics or analyzing off-page factors:
- Competitor websites in Website profiler - Add the URL of your content. Then try to skip the first few pages where mostly your competitors will appear. Further along the list, you'll find several hundred content sites relevant to your niche. They will be a perfect choice for your outreach efforts.
- Search visibility in Website profiler - You can also check the popularity or authority of the domain you want to get a link from by using search engine visibility and estimated traffic.
- Ahrefs Miner or Majestic Miner - Sync Marketing Miner with your paid Ahrefs or Majestic account to analyze your backlink data for thousands of URLs at once.
- Link prospecting - Are you about to start working on link building outreach or guest posting? In that case, you will first need to find the best link opportunities based on keywords you wish to cover. This Miner will help you exactly with that.
- Contact Finder - This tool will come in handy when you have already found suitable outreach opportunities thanks to your previous link prospecting efforts. Now all you need to do is to find their contact details. To avoid having to search for them all manually, you can use this tool to save time.
- Backlink checker - This Miner is helpful when you need to check multiple URLs and see if your backlinks still exist.
- Regular backlinks check and analysis - To keep your links under control, you don't have to check them manually, but you can track them all in the Backlinks section after creating your projec in Marketing Miner. We regularly check if your backlinks still exist and monitor their changes. We track if it is a nofollow or dofollow link and their anchor text. We will notify you via email straight away about any changes.
Link building is one of the main off-page SEO tactics. But off-page SEO is not just link building. While we've discussed it a lot in this article as it's essential to long-term SEO success, we certainly don't want you to neglect the other off-page activities we mentioned here.
That's why we recommend you collaborate with other marketing departments such as brand, PR, and social media so you can benefit from each other's activities together.
Which off-page or link building method will you start with first?